Which of the two is the "party beast"? Anni and Phillipp Steinhart, the sportiest couple in Gröbenzell. © Stefan Matzke / sampics
They are Gröbenzell's most athletic couple, she is a handball player, he is a professional footballer at TSV 1860. We met both of them for an interview: Anni and Phillipp Steinhart.
Gröbenzell – She has achieved what was denied him: Ann-Christin Steinhart (33) has been promoted to the 2nd Bundesliga with the handball players of HCD Gröbenzell. Her husband Phillipp (31), a professional footballer at TSV 1860, remains in the third division. Currently, both are recovering from a strenuous season. Our interview.
Mr. Steinhart, which saying has been the most annoying lately?
Phillipp: I've heard quite often the question of why we didn't ascend . . .
In contrast to your wife Anni, who will play in the 2nd Handball Bundesliga with Gröbenzell in the future.
Phillipp: Yes, there have been a few sayings.
Anni: Fortunately, most of them came with a wink. I'm very happy for me and my team – and I would have been even happier if the Lions had made it. I would have wished for nothing more than two ascents in the family.
What was the celebration like when it was decided on the penultimate matchday?
Anni: Not as wild as you might think. We were all so exhausted, really exhausted. The season was long. We're just incredibly grateful that we made it. But of course, it was a bit fluid (laughs).
Were you there, Phillipp?
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
Phillipp: Not at the celebration, but at the decisive game. The girls were then allowed to celebrate alone.
Do you like to be in the hall as a player?
Phillipp: Yes, I really enjoy watching the games and also try to get into the hall as often as possible. It's a lot of fun and I'm always super proud when I see Anni play.
You, Anni, are regularly present in the environment of the lions. When did you feel that the promotion would not happen again this year?
Anni: As far as this is concerned, I am also an outsider. I'm not in the dressing room, I don't hear what's being said . . . I think it was a team spiral. The pressure from outside, the bad phase in the autumn, finally the change of coach. That makes a difference. You don't have to believe that this will leave athletes unscathed.
Does that coincide with your analysis, Phillipp?
Phillipp: Absolute. First and foremost, it's up to us players – what we deliver on the pitch. In the decisive moments, we simply didn't do enough, you have to be honest about that.
First and foremost, it's up to us players – what we deliver on the pitch. In the decisive moments, we simply didn't do enough, you have to be honest about that.
Self-critical season analysis by the 1860 veteran Phillipp Steinhart.
Were you satisfied with your husband's performances? Or are you reluctant to criticize?
Anni: No, not at all (laughs). I criticize him, he criticizes me, that's normal with us. I think it's nice that my opinion is important to him. We also go through individual scenes. Then I say: Here the pass was bad, there you should have played calmer . . . Constructive criticism. It's not like we're pulling each other down and saying: Wow, that was bad!
Was Phillipp's season okay?
Anni: I know what he can do. There's definitely more to it. You can't forget that he came back from an injury – other players struggled with that too. Nevertheless, he is a support, always gives 100 percent.
Your wife is also a defender, Phillipp...
Anni: Yes, it seems to run in the family (laughs).
The sports equipment always at hand: handball player Anni Steinhart and 1860 professional Phillipp Steinhart during an interview with sports editor Uli Kellner. © Stefan Matzke / sampics
Can she give valuable tips?
Phillipp: It's hard to compare the sports. In handball, everything is tight, there is clinging – that would be difficult with us . . .
Anni: Handball is just coarser (laughs). Sometimes I ask the question: Is it not possible to defend it in this way?
And what is your handball expertise, Phillipp?
Phillipp: In the beginning, everything went too fast for me: counting the steps, how things are laid out . . . In the meantime, I think I can follow a game quite well.
Phillipp has the urge to score ahead of you, Anni. One hears that you are not very squeamish at the back.
Phillipp: You could say that . . .
Anni: I have to admit, I also had two red cards this season... (laughs). That cost me a lot of money.
I have to admit, I also had two red cards this season... That cost me a lot of money.
Handball player Ann-Christin Steinhart, the wife of 1860 professional Phillipp Steinhart.
Phillipp: I don't think there's a game where you don't get a two-minute penalty . . .
Anni: Yes, in the last game. But it's true: As far as that is concerned, I'm way up in the rankings. In handball you need this tension, although I'm not a fundamentally aggressive person, I would like to emphasize that (laughs).
Have you ever played handball, Phillipp?
Phillipp: No, only at school, not in terms of association.
And you football, Anni?
Anni: We often play football in training, I like that. I even played in a hobby tournament once. Kicking a little bit is fun, but also very difficult. Going into a dribble with the ball on the football – that looks much easier than it is.
Who is better at losing in general?
Anni: He, I would say. At least he can handle it better.
Phillipp: That's right, I can do it better at home. Still, I hate losing!
Anni: It's really hard for me. Defeats annoy me so much! I carry that with me all week. Phillipp is generally quieter.
Phillipp: More level-headed, I would say – and only at home, not on the pitch. With this way I try to capture the Anni.
So it's a good thing you didn't lose so often last season . . .
Anni: Yes, I guess it will be different next season (laughs). You get used to winning!
A year ago, Gröbenzell renounced promotion, but this time the club is taking the chance. How big is the challenge of the 2nd division for you?
Anni: For me personally, a beautiful dream has come true. And of course, there is a lot coming our way now. Long away trips, even more training, I'm afraid. It's time to dress warmly. But that's a challenge I'm happy to take on.
In your CV, Phillipp, there is exactly one second division game – from March 2012.
Phillipp: At least that's what I'd like it to be.
Phillipp Steinhart (31) is far from thinking about quitting and hopes to play in the second division
You are set, actually with every coach so far. How come?
Anni: As a coach, I would also be grateful to have him. I don't know anyone who is more disciplined. Phillipp always gives everything, even in every training session. As far as the overall package as an athlete is concerned, he is already a role model for me. What many people don't see is that footballers also have to do without a lot. Making sacrifices for their sport. In this respect, too, he is an absolute model professional.
Phillipp will turn 31 in July, and the end of a footballer's career is approaching. Are you worried about the time when your husband is at home around the clock?
Anni: Please, don't! (laughs)
Phillipp: Don't worry. I'll still have to work, it's not like I'm going to be taken care of. And anyway: Who says that it has to end so soon? I feel healthy and fit – there are still a few years to go.
Their daughter is four years old. How much parenting does Phillipp do?
Anni: Very, very much. It's totally balanced with us – he also puts them in bed in the evening when I'm at training. As a mom, there's no reason for me to complain. I can't think of a better dad for Charlotte.
Phillipp: These statements were all agreed in advance – the money for them will be available later (laughs).
As a mom, there's no reason for me to complain. I can't think of a better dad for Charlotte.
Handball player Anni Steinhart on her Phillipp, who is an exemplary family man.
Does Charlotte prefer to watch football or handball?
Phillipp: In fact, in handball.
Anni: Yes, at least she can run around freely. It has energy without end. That's why I can't take them with me when I go to the stadium – I wouldn't hear anything about the game.
And which parent does the little one emulate?
Phillipp: Definitely Anni. When she has a ball in her hand, she throws.
Anni: With left, that's great! But she also likes tennis and has a total affinity for dance.
Who did she get it from?
Phillipp: Anni is clearly responsible for celebrating. I'm not that much of a party beast.
Anni: You're really not. Except when the circle is small, it's really funny . . .
Phillipp: There has to be an occasion.
For example, a climb. Next year, however, it should be more about staying in the league for both Steinharts, isn't it?
Anni: With us, it's clear. Staying in the league is the only goal.
Phillipp: For you, it's staying in the league, for us it's allowed to be a little more (laughs).
Interview: Uli Kellner